3-Minute Guide to AWS IoT Greengrass




Many organizations are migrating their databases and processes to the cloud, which enables greater scalability and accessibility. Cloud systems offer users a wide range of tools and features that provide comprehensive management of devices and accounts connected remotely to the cloud. 

AWS IoT is one example of a specialized tool that allows users to effectively build, deploy, and manage their devices from across various locations.

There are countless product types and industries that could use AWS IoT, but Amazon is really focused on three areas:

  1. Industrial IoT applications (remote monitoring)
  2. Connected homes
  3. Commercial applications (smart cities and healthcare)

AWS IoT offers many services for devices, device connectivity, and analytics, but in this guide, we’ll be discussing AWS Greengrass software. Here are the essential things to know.

What Is AWS Greengrass?

Specifically, AWS Greengrass is an open-source edge runtime (a software program that transforms local devices into IoT edge-compatible devices) and cloud service. AWS Greengrass expedites the development of device applications by offering users pre-build components ready for use.

AWS Greengrass is an open-source edge runtime (a software program that transforms local devices into IoT edge-compatible devices) and cloud service.

Additionally, the software provides a wide range of features such as messaging, data management, on-premise processing, and ML (machine learning) inference to assist users with an intuitive solution.

Requirements Before Starting on the AWS Greengrass

Users should fulfill a checklist of prerequisites before starting on the AWS IoT Greengrass program. These include:

  • Having access to a Mac, Windows PC, or Linux-like system.
  • An activated AWS (Amazon Web Services) account.
  • Fall under an AWS region supported by AWS IoT Greengrass.
  • Access to a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, or Raspberry Pi 3 Model B/B+, with an 8 GB microSD card, or Amazon EC2 instance (IT experts recommend connecting AWS IoT Greengrass through hardware).
  • Familiarity with the Python programming language is a plus.

Set up the Core

Once users satisfy all requirements, they may set up AWS Greengrass in a few simple steps. The first step involves building an AWS Greengrass core, necessary for running groups within the program. Users need to install the core program on a physical device, which communicates with the AWS cloud server. Each AWS Greengrass group should only connect to a single core.

Sort Groups

With the core device in place, users may add devices to groups on the cloud. AWS IoT Greengrass groups may accommodate up to 200 devices at one time, and a single device may simultaneously join a maximum of 10 groups.

Code Groups

AWS IoT Greengrass users may code devices with groups established, enabling them to run without connection to a cloud server.

How Does AWS IoT Greengrass Work Offline?

AWS IoT Greengrass enables local devices to communicate and exchange data securely without a cloud connection by processing information through a local pub/sub manager. Pub/sub managers are asynchronous messaging services that enable flexible message storage and real-time delivery.

Popular Features of AWS Greengrass

Local Processing - AWS IoT Greengrass supports various local processes through AWS Lambda, AWS IoT Device Shadows, local containers, resource access, and development.

Data Stream Management - Users may collect, process, and export data streams from IoT devices with AWS Greengrass. The process can significantly reduce development time.

ML Inference Capabilities - AWS Greengrass users can conveniently apply local ML inference by implementing cloud-based models.

Advantages of the AWS Greengrass

Due to the unique configurations of AWS Greengrass, users can expect some significant advantages over standard IoT devices, mainly through accessibility and security competencies.

Improved Security

AWS IoT Greengrass offers improved user protection through authentication and authorization of devices through secured local networks (and cloud connections), minimizing the risks of data breaches. Users may enhance core security features with the Amazon IoT Device SDK to secure end-to-end encryption for messages communicated between devices and the cloud.


AWS Greengrass enables users to process advanced data analytics at a lower cost by compiling/aggregating data through local systems before filtering and transferring them onto the cloud. The quality check helps users reduce unnecessary data delivered to the cloud, which results in long-term cost savings.

Easier Cloud-based Coding

Additionally, AWS Greengrass contains a local access feature that enables devices to tap on and utilize local resources when required, allowing real-time functionality. As a result of its local access capabilities, AWS Greengrass simplifies the cloud coding and deployment process by working through lambda functions rather than navigating complex embedded systems.


There is a broad range of devices compatible with AWS IoT Greengrass. Users can easily set up and add a new device to existing groups as long as they fulfill AWS Greengrass’s software requirements. Additionally, once set up, devices will run smoothly on the cloud without requiring tedious firmware updates.

Ultimately, AWS Greengrass can help users elevate their IoT experience by combining the reliability of local data infrastructure with the convenience of the cloud.

Need help getting your IoT software development project up to speed? Contact our team! We'd be happy to learn about your device, data, and app and develop your next IoT project.